I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
November 14, 2012 - 8:11 a.m.
I didn't update yesterday despite the fact that I have a lot to write about. I'm up early this morning and decided to take advantage of that. I'm going to hold off writing about NERFA till later and write about yesterday instead.
I wasted far too much time yesterday. I have a test to grade and should have made more progress on it. I should have written Wise Madness. I should have done NERFA homework, contacting musicians. I didn't and there is nothing I can do about it now and that isn't fun to write about so let's move on to last night. It was a special night of music at the Living Room. The lineup was On Your Radar with James Lee Stanley & Cliff Eberhardt, Louise Mosrie, and Beth Wood, followed by Amy Speace, then Nels Andrews. None of these are household names but to those in the NERFA/FRFF world this is a big deal. That's a lot of talent in one venue in one night.
I always try and get to On Your Radar early, before doors, and grab my seat and talk to the artists. I went to grab some pizza for dinner before the show. I had taken one bite when John and Sheila Platt walked in the door and joined me. A minute after that it was Mike and Carol, no not Brady. Now cut that out. This is serious business. Then Dan came in. When we were all settled in we had our post NERFA debriefing. We were all struck by what I made the emphasis of my last entry, the heightened sense of community this year. We of course also discussed our discoveries. We then moved on mass to the Living Room.
When we got there I didn't go in but waited out front with Fred, Lori not LORi, Joe, Rona, and Bob. When they let us in we took our usual seats. As I expected the place was packed, the aficionados were out in force.
On Your Radar was done in an unusual way. Instead of three acts consecutively, the first half was Louise and Beth in a song swap and the second half was James and Cliff doing their tribute to the Doors.
Louise I know from last year's NERFA and Falcon Ridge. She was one of the Emerging Artists in 2011 and brought back for the Most Wanted Workshop in 2012. I saw her on the preview tour multiple times but then she couldn't perform at FRFF because her mother died right before the Festival. I hope that Anne invites her back next year to make up for that. It's not like it is doing Louise a favor, she's great and it was the Festival's loss that she couldn't play.
I think I discovered Beth Woods at NERFA 2011. I wasn't that familiar with her but I am now a fan. The two fit together well. They have beautiful voices and tight songwriting that touches the heart. I did something I never do, I took a video with my phone, It wasn't of a full song. You couldn't even seen the performer's face. It was of Beth's toes. Yes her toes. Don't give me that look. She performs barefoot which isn't unusual. Her toes dance, which is. Not her whole foot, her individual toes. Watch for it next time you see her. There will be a next time. I gave her the Wise Madness seal of approval so you want to see her. Oh right, the video. During the show I played it back to make sure i got it. Everyone in the room heard it including Beth. That was embarrassing. After the show I fessed up to Beth and asked her permission to post it. Now I can't find it on my phone. One of these days I'll learn how to use it. I'll post it if and when I locate it..
I had seen Cliff and James do their Doors thing at NERFA last year. So here's the thing. I love Cliff. James is very talented. I love the Doors. If there were a rock band's music that would seem suitable for a folk treatment it would be the poetry of the Doors. But it doesn't work great for me. It isn't bad. It's good, but I'd rather see James and Cliff do their own material. They each did one song and that was the highlight of their set.
Most of the people there for On Your Radar stayed for Amy. Those that didn't were replaced by new people. The place stayed packed. Amy asked me to set up the merch. I thought she might. I am the emperor of the Speace Corp, her street team.
I can never say enough about Amy. Especially now as I'm running out of time. She is as great, not good, great, a singer songwriter as you'll find. There was a time when I felt each of her songs sounded like it was by a different artist. Her new material has more of a unity of style. She has a new album coming out in April. You want it. I expect to see you at her CD release show.
Nels came on at 10:00 on a school night so many people had to leave before his set. Those that were left were enriched in artists and presenters. They know how good Nels is. This was my first time seeing him with a band. Honor has always seen him with a band. Her magic was more powerful than mine.
Nels keeps growing on me. His new songs are less gritty and more poetic but no less powerful. He is a folk singer, not a singer/songwriter. He tells stories. He creates characters. He takes you into his world.
After the show I made what was for me considering how many friends I had there, everyone in the audience, a quick getaway. It wasn't as quick as I thought as I didn't get home till midnight. That did not leave me enough time to write then.
I'd like to write more now but I have to get ready for school. I'll try and write later about NERFA. I'd like to head back to the Living Room tonight for Pal Shazar and Miss Tess but I have so much to do. Tomorrow I'm going to see Zoe Lewis. Then I have plans for Friday and Saturday. I keep busy.
So now I have to really end this. I'm not going to even list everyone who was at the show. It's simple; all the best musicians, presenters, and music lovers in New York were there.
The Court Fool of NERFA - November 13, 2017
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